Why We Like Working With Couples – And Why We Can and “They” Can’t

Our Couples Program is a unique way to address your drinking problems. We combine the most effective way of working with couples along with the proven components of success in eradicating alcohol abuse.

So what do we do that’s so unusually effective?

First we work with you as a team. This means we avoid the “triangulation,” where the therapist appears to side with one spouse and the two of them gang up on the third.

Even when it’s not the case, one spouse or the other will either feel that way or use it as an excuse to disengage. That dooms virtually all couples counseling.

But in working with us there are two of you and two of us. No ganging up, no two on one.

Also important, I (Ed) had an alcohol problem myself so drinkers have something of an advocate. Mary Ellen was the family member delegated to find help for a relative and discovered that no real help existed – just the usual AA/12 Step brainwashing – so spouses also have someone who understands their point of view.

That means that we can support each of you equally, help you each understand your role in the problem, and how to effectively support each other through the process of creating a non-alcohol based relationship.


This all plays out in two different ways. If you’re both abusing alcohol, then you will each receive the individual 12 weeks of follow-up sessions. If only one of you is drinking excessively then that one, the designated client, will participate in follow-up.

However, on an as needed basis, and with the designated client’s permission, spouses can schedule extra time as the new “dance” the two of you will build evolves, with alcohol off the table.

Please remember, everyone who is affected by the alcohol abuse will also be affected by its cessation. The benefits the drinker derives from alcohol will go away, but so will the benefits the spouse and others have, mostly unconsciously, enjoyed from the now missing element. Virtually no one is prepared for these changes and that often results in unconscious sabotage that sends the drinker right back to the bottle.

Don’t settle for this predictable treatment outcome!

Instead, adjust to a different, and research based, view of alcohol abuse and shed the mythology that pervades our culture and prevents people from getting real help.

Sherlock Holmes and the Real Solution

It’s important to note that the 12 Step “culture” has invaded almost every aspect of our society when it comes to the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Nowhere is this more evident than on television where talk shows, gurus, pseudo-therapists, and hucksters routinely pitch interventions, rehab, and AA as though they actually worked for anyone, anything, and everything.

This infection reached new levels with the series “Elementary” in which the modern day Sherlock Holmes appears as a just out of rehab addict who’s moved to New York City and is living with his “sober living companion” Dr. Watson. Between the really fairly interesting murders he is solving for the NYPD, there is the endless background of meetings, sponsors, and AA advertising.

But back up for a minute, those of you who have read the original Sherlock Holmes’ mysteries, and you will remember that Mr. Holmes was a recreational cocaine user. He indulged this habit when he was bored. But then along would come another case, the needle would be put away, and “the game’s afoot, Watson,” would end the boredom.

Frankly, the original Sherlock has much in common with you, his drug use parallels your alcohol abuse, and he would no more have joined AA than you would – or if he had he would also have recognized it as a dead end and pursued his own alternative solutions.

No, none of us are going to change Hollywood.

We can, however, note where the 12 Step infection breeds and grows and, happily, see those rare places where it doesn’t.

The interesting counterpoint is the late writer Robert Parker and his Jesse Stone series which has been translated into a series of TV movies starring Tom Selleck. These actually provide a very real picture of a lonely, isolated, obsessed, and mourning man, his alcohol abuse, and the evolving solution.

Apparently not everyone has been infected with the Steppers’ and the rehab mills pervasive nonsense. It’s another good reason to address your problem privately, confidentially, effectively, individually, and quickly.

Don’t be reduced to being a second class “in recovery” citizen – not in your marriage, family, profession, or community. Instead, get a grip and a life – not a label – and the satisfaction that comes with defeating a difficult habit and leaving it, and the stigma, behind.